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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

890110 – 7793   Paratrea plebeja (Fabricius, 1777)
             Plebeian Sphinx

Valerie G. Bugh
Distribution: From southern New England and New York westward through the Ohio Valley to Nebraska, and southward to eastern Texas and Florida.
and Size:
Wagner reports at least two generations in New Jersey with mature caterpillars from July to October, and that it is nearly year round in parts of the Deep South with many generations. In Maryland Glaser reports it to be common in the Coastal Plain but absent west of the Piedmont, with flight dates from 10 May - 10 September.. Wingspan 60 - 75 mm.
Larva and
Host Plants:
Food plants are trumpet vine, bignonia and Florida yellow-trumpet. It has also been found on passionflower and lilac. Larva is a hornworm, commonly yellow-green above and blue-green below. There is also a brown form. There are 7 pairs of oblique lateral lines, and the head and body are covered with white granules. The horn may be blue, green, or sometimes black.
Field Marks:
  • forewing gray, with a series of black dashes from base to apex.
  • conspicuous white reniform spot.
  • hindwing dark gray with obscure black median band.
Similar Species:
  • Hermit Sphinx, Sphinx eremitus has a white reniform spot which may be double.
  • hindwing black with two distinct broad white bands.
  • Pinned specimens of related species. (Hint: select View by Region on the related species page.)
Synonymy: Sphinx plebeja Fabricius, 1777
  • Barcode of Life (BOLD) - Caution: DNA barcode provides evidence of relatedness, not proof of identification, and some BOLD specimens shown may not be sequenced.
  • Covell Field Guide p.34; Pl. 5(5, male).
  • Hall et al., 2021. The Moths of North Carolina - website (identification, habitats and life history)
  • Hodges, R. W., 1971. Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 21:p. 50; pl. 3.2. order or free PDF
  • Species Page at Bill Oehlke's moth website - Paratrea plebeja
  • Species Page at BugGuide.Net
  • Species Page at Mass Moths
  • Tuttle, J. P., 2007. Hawk Moths of North America: p. 72; pl. 10.7.
  • Wagner, D. L., (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America, p. 253.
Paratrea plebeja
Randy Newman
Paratrea plebeja
Bob Patterson
Paratrea plebeja
Hannah Nendick-Mason
Paratrea plebeja
70mm – Jim Vargo
Paratrea plebeja
George Smiley LG
on Campsis radicans

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